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Hello,

Should the Liberal government choose to intervene in the extradition case of Meng Wanzhou, the law will not stand in its way, experts say.

A legal opinion from veteran lawyer Brian Greenspan said the Extradition Act gives the justice minister clearance to withdraw proceedings at any time. The opinion was commissioned by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, former justice minister Allan Rock and Vina Nadjibulla, the wife of Michael Kovrig.

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Mr. Kovrig is one of two Canadians who were arrested by Chinese authorities in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Ms. Meng, who is wanted in the U.S. on charges of fraud. He and Michael Spavor have spent 561 days in detention. Ms. Nadjibulla shared letters from Mr. Kovrig with The Globe that document how he has tried to keep his mind and body together under difficult conditions.

So far, though, the Liberal government has shown little appetite to intervene in Ms. Meng’s case. Publicly, ministers say they must stand up for the principle of the rule of law. Privately, they may be concerned about appearing to repeat the SNC-Lavalin scandal, which also involved alleged political pressure on an attorney-general. As well, intervening in order to free the two detained Canadians could be a tacit endorsement of “hostage diplomacy” and provide incentive for countries to arrest Canadians and use them as bargaining chips with Canada.

The government still has time to think it over. Ms. Meng’s extradition case may drag on for another four years.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

For the last few months, the House of Commons has held meetings of a special COVID-19 committee in lieu of full sittings. The Conservatives have expressed the most unhappiness with the situation, saying the House should meet more often. However, an analysis of the attendance figures show that the Conservatives had the worst attendance record at the special committee meetings of all the parties. Conservative MPs had an average attendance of 47 per cent, while the Bloc Québécois had 73 per cent, the Liberals had 76 per cent, the NDP had 85 per cent and the Greens had 95 per cent.

The latest in the Conservative leadership race: a Conservative MP’s summer intern has been fired over allegations that someone stole private campaign data from the Erin O’Toole camp and gave it to Peter MacKay’s campaign.

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The Conservatives outspent the Liberals in the 2019 election, though both parties spent a little under the $29-million cap.

The Senate ethics committee says Lynn Beyak should be fully reinstated after she gave an apology and participated in educational programs. Ms. Beyak had been suspended earlier this year after the committee found she had used her official website to host racist content.

The United States is planning to reimpose tariffs on aluminum next week, the same day as the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement comes into effect, Bloomberg reports.

And another Canada-Day tradition we are going without this year is new appointments to the Order of Canada. The office of Governor-General Julie Payette said that, with the pandemic going on, it was too difficult for the advisory council to get together and decide who the year’s new appointments would be.

Colin Robertson (The Globe and Mail) on how to safely reopen the Canada-U.S. border: “In managing this pandemic, each province has responded to its own circumstances. Our island provinces and Quebec temporarily closed their borders. The North remains shut. Reopening began in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In Ontario, restrictions were first relaxed outside of Toronto. One-size-fits-all has not applied within Canada. Let’s demonstrate the same flexibility in reopening to tourism and commerce.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how the pandemic has affected Canada’s demographics: “One of the worst long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for Canada will be the tens of thousands who won’t be born, a loss to this country’s future. To make up for that loss, and for the immigrants who were unable to come to Canada this year because of the lockdown, the federal government would need to increase its immigration target beyond 400,000 next year and in future years, which may be politically and logistically impossible.”

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Tegan Hill and Jason Clemens (The Globe and Mail) on Albertans’ problems with the federation: “Alberta also has a comparatively young population right now, with fewer retirees. It has demographic and income advantages, including higher rates of employment and higher average incomes, despite the province’s weak economy. That results in Albertans disproportionately contributing to national programs.”

Lisa Young (Policy Options) on the history of those issues: “For the Alberta-conservative movement to take flight, it requires collective identity. Unlike Quebec sovereigntists, Alberta conservatives lack a claim around language or culture. Instead, there is a conscious effort to cultivate a collective identity grounded in grievance.”

Rob Breakenridge (Calgary Herald) on the Fair Deal panel report: “There are some aspects of this report that might merit some consideration at some point, including the idea of a provincial pension plan or a provincial police force. But given our disturbingly low levels of employment and economic growth and the uncertainties of our postpandemic future, such ideas really don’t seem like a priority right now.”

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